NBA Rumors: Dallas Mavericks Moving Dirk Nowitzki Back To Forward

NBA rumors have been swirling around Dirk Nowitzki. The belief was that Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle was going to be playing his star forward at center for the rest of the season. The Mavericks found some success with a small ball lineup, and they were hoping that it would help them catch up to the San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors. According to ESPN, the experiment might be over and Nowitzki might be moving back to forward.

Rick Carlisle is one of the more creative basketball minds in the NBA. Since his team was struggling to win games, Carlisle decided to insert Raymond Felton into the starting lineup instead of Zaza Pachulia. Felton is a 6'1", 200-pound guard, while Pachulia is a 6'11", 275-pound center. That changes up the dynamics of the game for the Mavericks. Dallas found success using two perimeter players in Chandler Parsons and Dirk Nowitzki at power forward and center respectively.

Dallas Mavericks forward Chandler Parsons
Chandler Parsons [Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images]There's a lot of offensive advantages to having Chandler Parsons at power forward and Dirk Nowitzki at center. There's not a lot of power forwards in the NBA that can handle Parsons when he is running the pick and roll from the perimeter. With his assortment of moves, Nowitzki is a pain for opposing NBA centers to defend. Offensively, the tandem works out. It's on the defensive side of the ball that doesn't work out as well.

When the Dallas Mavericks were finding success with Chandler Parsons and Dirk Nowitzki at power forward and center, the front office, led by Donnie Nelson and Mark Cuban, started targeting small forwards like Harrison Barnes and Nicolas Batum in free agency this summer. The Mavericks were already outscoring opponents with Parsons and Nowitzki, but adding a guy like Barnes or Batum would have made their front court even more dangerous.

Dallas Mavericks guard Raymond Felton
Raymond Felton [Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images]The problem with Chandler Parsons and Dirk Nowitzki being the biggest guys on the court for the Dallas Mavericks is rebounding. Parsons has a career rebounding average of 5.1 rebounds per game because he was also focused on being on the perimeter. Nowitzki plays closer to the basket, but he's never averaged more than 10 rebounds a game in the NBA, despite being 7'0".

The Dallas Mavericks have admittedly stated that their new small ball lineup wasn't going to win every single game in the NBA. Though the lineup has struggled a little, it doesn't mean that the Mavericks have given up on the idea. If they can figure out a way to alleviate the rebounding issues, then they will use the smaller lineup more frequently because their offensive output can be pretty close to dominant at times.

Dallas Mavericks center David Lee
David Lee [Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images]If the experiment continues to struggle, then the Dallas Mavericks have a couple of options. They can obviously insert Zaza Pachulia back into the starting lineup, as he did pretty decently for much of the regular season. The Mavericks can also insert David Lee, who was released by the Boston Celtics earlier this year, into the center position. Lee is much better at rebounding that Chandler Parsons and Dirk Nowitzki. David can also produce a good amount of points on offense.

In the NBA, it is really hard to gauge how effective a starting lineup is after just a week. Chemistry needs time. However, if chemistry can be found, then that's a dangerous weapon for any team in the National Basketball Association. It might not be enough for the Dallas Mavericks to overcome the San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors, but it will at least enable them to be more competitive than normal. An NBA Finals appearance still seems out of reach, though.

[Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images]